Do More with the Jackson Zoo

volunteer docent owlOur Volunteers are an important part of the Jackson Zoo. Volunteers create quality experiences for guests and support programs that promote the Jackson Zoo’s mission. We have volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.




Qualities we look for in our volunteers:

  • A genuine interest in nature and conservation.
  • Friendly, outgoing, dependable. A positive attitude is a must!
  • Reliable and able to commit to a minimum of 1 year and 72 hours per year.

Looking for volunteer opportunities for groups? Or Eagle Scouts?

Looking for a Jackson State University student volunteer position or service learning hours?

READY to Start?

Read through the open positions to determine what interests you most. The Jackson Zoo accepts applications twice a year: January and July. Applications are currently being accepted for the fall. An informational session will be held on Saturday, August 29 at 10am. Mandatory training dates will be September 12 and September 26 from 10am-1pm.

If you are between 13-17 years old, please see our Zoo Teen Page.

Adult Volunteer ApplicationCollege Volunteer Application  Boo at the Zoo Volunteers  


Need More Info?

What Roles are Available?

The Jackson Zoo is an education-focused institution with most of our volunteers concentrating on guest experiences. Very few of our volunteer positions work directly with animals.

Positions listed on the open positions page are immediately available upon acceptance into the program. Additional positions become available with the accrual of 36 hours of volunteer service. Accrued hours however do not guarantee acceptance into any position. Advanced volunteer positions, such as Animal Care Assistants are demanding and highly competitive and require an internal application process.

If you have a passion for sharing a specific skill (e.g. marketing, fundraising, plumbing, electrical, etc.) please submit an application and contact us directly detailing your interest.

What Happens Next?

  1. After you have read through the open positions to determine what interests you most, submit an application.
  2. After you have submitted an application, a member of Education Department will contact you to sign up for an information session where you’ll receive a greater understanding of the program and position you are interested in.
  3. If requested during the information session, you will complete a criminal history background check and submit your volunteer membership fee. Active volunteers make a yearly monetary contribution to the program in the form of an annual membership fee ($30 for the first year and $15 for each subsequent year).
  4. Upon clearance of your background check, the Education Department will contact you with the training schedule.
  5. Attend training sessions where you will learn about the zoo, receive training on our customer service, safety, and general policies, and position specific training.
  6. Attend training sessions and pass associated knowledge assessment test. Receive your volunteer t-shirt and official welcome to the Jackson Zoo Volunteers!


Group Volunteers

The Jackson Zoo welcomes corporate, agency, school, and organized community volunteer groups to help fulfill the zoo’s project needs. Volunteer groups are typically scheduled for projects/shifts of four hours or less. Most zoo projects can accommodate a group size of 10-35 individuals.

Organizations can choose to volunteer for on-going or one-time projects, events, and activities. The tasks for each project and event vary greatly, but each one offers your group the opportunity to have fun and provide a valuable service to the Zoo.

Types of Group Volunteer Projects:

  • Outdoor Projects – Raking leaves, moving substrate (soil, sand, rocks, gravel), planting shrubs, flowers, etc. Each project will vary depending on the needs of the zoo and the interest of the group.
  • Indoor Projects – Preparing materials for programs, sorting items for special events, stuffing membership, or event bags, etc. The exact project will vary due to the time of year and needs of the zoo.
  • Special Events – Helping with zoo with event setup, greeting guests, manning craft and activity tables, providing event support, cleanup, etc. Major zoo events include Zoo Day, Wild About Learning, Dream Night, Party for the Planet, Ice Cream Safari, Last Splash, and Boo at the Zoo
Group Request Form

 While we do try to accommodate all projects, availability is based on the needs of the Zoo. There will be no contact with any animals. This form must be submitted at least one month prior to the proposed start of the project.

Eagle Scouts

The Jackson Zoo is committed to helping our community become stewards of the environment. One of the ways we do this is through Eagle Scout Service Projects. Service Projects can be in a variety of fields including, but not limited to:

  • Wildlife conservation
  • Visitors experience
  • Educational programming

Interested in doing your Eagle Scout Service Project at the Zoo?

Project Request Form

While we do try to accommodate all projects, availability is based on the needs of the Zoo. There will no contact with any animals; we cannot create labels or signs advertising the work of the Eagle Scout.

This form must be submitted at least two months prior to the proposed start of the project.


Call the Education Department at (601) 352-2580 ext 240.